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Published September 12, 2014

I have to start today’s review with a slight confession; I was never really part of the cultural phenomenon that was “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. The characters first appeared in comic form in 1984, and had a tv series that ran from ’87 to ’96. Apparently they had a hugely successful movie in ’90, a year before I was born. My first knowledge of the franchise was probably the animated series that started in 2003; they showed it on Cheez TV, so I caught the odd episode while waiting for Pokemon to start.

And now there’s a new film.

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New York is a city under siege by ruthless gang the Foot Clan. Young reported April O’Neil (Megan Fox) is convinced that the recent theft of a shipment of chemicals is the tip of an iceberg, and attempts to seek the truth; it’s a shame that no-one takes her seriously, as her cameraman and friend Vern (Will Arnett) soon arrives to rush her off to film a puff piece.

April O'Neil for Channel 6.
April O’Neil for Channel 6.

Cycling home past the docks late that night, she witnesses Foot Clan thugs unloading cargo, and as she attempts to capture the footage on her phone a mysterious figure interrupts them. The next day she tries to convince her boss, but is widely derided as crazy.

Finding herself involved during a hostages situation at a subway station, April this time witnesses four figures who make short work of Foot Clan. Tracking them to the rooftops, she tries discretely to photograph them, unwittingly revealing her presence. The four figures introduce themselves as Leonardo (voice Johnny Knoxville), Michelangelo (voice Noel Fisher), Donatello (voice Jeremy Howard), and Raphael (voice Alan Ritchson), and after deleting the photos, urge her not to reveal their presence.

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The stage is now set; on the one side, the Foot Clan lead by the ruthless Shredder (Tohoru Masamune). On the other, the Turtles, their master Splinter (voice Tony Shaloub), aided by O’Neil. As it turns out, she’s been more involved, instrumental even, than she could have ever thought. For it is the work of her father (played in her memories by Paul Fitzgerald) and Eric Sacks (William Fichtner) that may hold the clues to this whole affair.

I’ll level with you, readers; this film isn’t going to make it into any “Top 10” lists any time soon. I think it might be trying to be lighthearted/kid friendly while at the same time dark/gritty, and so fails at both. And it was a bit long. But…I had fun. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible either. Fox gave a decent performance, and I really just love Arnett. All the voice actors gave it their all, and that really contributed to the distinctly different nature of the Turtles.

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‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ is on general release from September 11.

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